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The Battle of U¦ud

The Battle of U¦ud

After the Battle of Badr, Quraysh who had earned a great income through the safe return of their trade caravan prepared themselves to avenge their defeat.[1] Having been ensured the cooperation of some tribes, Quraysh left Mecca with ample supplies[2] taking a group of women to encourage the soldiers in the battlefield.[3] The Holy Prophet, through secret information received from his uncle `Abb¡s at Mecca, knew about their plan.[4] He discussed the matter with his military consultants as how to confront the enemy. `Abdull¡h ibn Ubayy and some merchants from An¥¡r, as well as some individuals from Muh¡jir£n such as °amzah, preferred that the confrontation would take place outside the city borders because they believed that if Muslims remained in town, the enemy would become more daring and would consider it weak point.[5] Ultimately, the Holy Prophet accepted the proposal of this brave group of consultants and left the town for Mount U¦ud[6] with a thousand troops.[7] On the way, `Abdull¡h ibn Ubayy returned with his troops of three hundred to Medina defying the Holy Prophet’s plan, because he had accepted the plans of the younger consultants[8] and he assumed that no war would take place (Qur’¡n 3:167).[9] The Holy Prophet stationed the troop which had decreased to the number of seven hundred at the outskirts of Mount U¦ud, which became behind the Muslims while Mount `Aynayn was on the left side.[10] Muslim troops faced the west and the enemy faced the east.[11] Looking at the battlefield militarily, the Holy Prophet noticed the significance of Mount `Aynayn since the enemy might invade the Muslims while the fight was going on; therefore, he appointed an officer called `Abdull¡h ibn Jubayr to defend that location with fifty archers, declaring, “Whether we win or lose, you must stay here to defend us against the enemy’s attack.”[12]

Ab£-Sufy¡n, too, engaged himself in the adoption of standard-bearers. In those days, the role of standard-bearers was of crucial importance; only the brave ones could carry the standard. The strength and stamina of a standard-bearer was a source of encouragement for the troops. On the other hand, his fall would lead to the soldier’s discouragement. Having selected the standard-bearer from among the tribe of Ban£-`Abd al-D¡r who were famous for their courage, Ab£-Sufy¡n told them, “We all are sure that you, Ban£-`Abd al-D¡r are the worthiest of carrying the standards. Keep hold of the standards and make us feel secure in that issue; a troop falls as soon as its standards fall.”[13]

[1] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, 1:200; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 3:64; Ibn Sa`d, Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 2:37.

[2] The number of the enemy troops was three thousand, seven hundred of whom wore armors. They had two hundred horses and one thousand camels. See al-W¡qid¢, op cit, pp. 203-204; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 37; Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, Shar¦ Nahj al-Bal¡ghah, 14:217.

[3] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, pp. 202-203, Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 37, Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 3:66.

[4] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, pp. 204, 206; Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, op cit, 14:37. According to some narrations, Ban£-Khuz¡`ah, the allies of the Holy Prophet, relayed the information to the Holy Prophet who might have received it from both sources. See Ibn Ab¢’l-°ad¢d, op cit, pp. 218.

[5] al-W¡qid¢ op cit, pp. 210, 212, 213; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 3:67; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 38.

[6] Mount U¦ud is to north of Medina. Due to the natural obstacles to the south, the enemy could not penetrate into Medina; they had to go around the city to attack it from the north. See Mu¦ammad °am¢dull¡h, Ras£l Akram dar Mayd¡n Jang, pp. 79-85.

[7] Ibn Shahr¡sh£b, Man¡qib 1:191; al-Majlis¢, op cit, 20:117.

[8] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, 1:219; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 2:39; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 3:68.

[9] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, pp. 219; ±abars¢, Majma` al-Bay¡n 2:533.

[10] al-W¡qid¢, op cit. pp. 220; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, pp. 39; al-Samh£d¢, Waf¡' al-Waf¡' 1:225.

[11] al-W¡qid¢, op cit p,220.

[12] al-Majlis¢, op cit, 20:49; Ibn Hush¡m 3:70; Ibn Sa`d, op cit, 2:34-40; Samh£d¢, op cit, 1:285; ±abar¢, T¡r¢kh al-Umam wa’l-Mul£k 3:14.

[13] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, 1:221; Ibn Hush¡m, op cit, 3:106.

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